She will succeed the current President, Professor Dame Janet Beer DBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, from 1 August 2019 and will hold the post for two years.
Professor Buckingham has been Vice-Chancellor of Brunel since 2012 following a number of senior leadership positions at Imperial College London and Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School. She has been an active member of UUK, supporting policy developments and using her experience of working with research funders, professional bodies, industry, NHS, the government and various national and international organisations to represent the sector at select committees and political meetings. Professor Buckingham was first elected to the Board of UUK in 2014 and was elected Treasurer in 2016.
Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "Julia is widely respected across the sector as a successful leader and effective champion of gender equality, research and student mental health issues. The experience and expertise she brings from a background which combines industry and academia will be invaluable as she leads our university sector.
"I look forward to working with Julia to further enhance UUK's impact, influence and engagement with members and stakeholders."
Professor Buckingham said: "In the current climate of uncertainty and unprecedented change, universities – whatever their specialism, mission or geography – are in a position to make a huge difference to the country, to the economy and to individuals' lives. We are at the centre of the most important issues: educating the workforce and addressing the skills gap; strengthening our research base and driving innovation and entrepreneurism. We are a force for good, tackling issues right at the heart of our society such as social mobility, inclusivity, mental health and wellbeing; and ensuring that UK higher education remains at the forefront globally.
"I am honoured to have been elected by my peers, and to have the opportunity to work with UUK to steer this agenda forward, engaging with politicians, business leaders and others to influence policy development, to find solutions to difficult problems and to communicate and celebrate our sector's success and value in the UK and around the world."